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Fitch downgrades Belgian debt rating; 'stable' outlook
Washington (AFP) - The ratings agency Fitch on Friday downgraded Belgium's longterm debt rating one notch to AA-, citing growing levels of sovereign debt, but said the European nation's outlook was stable.
Belgian efforts to stimulate growth through structural reforms since a new government took power in 2014 have pushed the country's fiscal targets upward, with gross debt forecast to be 107 percent of GDP in 2016, the agency said in a statement.
"This persistent fiscal slippage moves back the first year with substantial debt reduction to 2019, two years later than previously projected by Fitch in November 2014, when the agency placed Belgium's rating on negative outlook," the statement said.
With tax revenues falling, the agency is now forecasting a three percent deficit for the Belgian budget in 2016, up three tenths from a prior estimate.
Extraordinary costs associated with the refugee crisis as well as security measures in response to terrorist attacks in France and Belgium also pushed the deficit forecast higher by 0.2 percent of GDP, according to Fitch.
"Repeated slippage against government targets is negatively affecting fiscal policy credibility, and reduces confidence in the ability to meet future fiscal targets."
Agricultural restructuring a tough task: official
At a working session on agricultural restructuring with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on August 25, the official said it was necessary to enhance links between businesses, farmers, cooperatives and localities to develop large-scale and high-value production areas. He urged the agricultural sector to diversify its products and identify key products of regions and localities, while stressing that agricultural restructuring is a difficult task which will require time. … chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Miller dazzles, Indians edge Blue Jays 2-1 in Game 2 of ALCS
CLEVELAND (AP) — They don't have a true superstar, an embarrassment of All-Stars or a celebrity following. That's the NBA champion Cavaliers, who play next door.The Indians, though, have depth, chemistry, one of baseball's best managers and quite possibly the most dominant bullpen weapon in the game.Andrew Miller has Cleveland two wins from the World Series — and Toronto batters flailing.Josh Tomlin baffled Blue Jays batters for nearly six innings and Miller, acquired just ahead of the trade… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Michelle Obama says she’s not interested in running for office
First lady Michelle Obama says she has no plans to run for office after her family leaves the White House.“I don’t make stuff up, I’m not coy — I’m pretty direct,” Obama told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that aired on CBS Monday night. “If I were interested in it, I’d say it.”“People don’t really understand how hard this is,” the first lady continued. “It’s not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again.”“When you run, your kids’ lives stop,” she added. “The next… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Investors bemoan multiple barriers to farming
VietNamNet Bridge – Businesses have complained that they have to deal with a host of barriers and risks in agricultural projects though they are encouraged to invest in the sector. A survey conducted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in 2015 indicated that firms were required to inject capital in farming projects but they had to face multiple risks and profit was not as high as expected.According to the survey, 26% of respondents said they incurred losses and only 13%… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Protesters take to US streets over Trump victory
Protesters walk during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kamil Krzaczynski Thousands of people protested across the United States on Wednesday over Republican Donald Trump's surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election, blasting his campaign rhetoric around immigrants, Muslims and other groups. On Wednesday evening, thousands of protesters thronged streets in midtown Manhattan while at a park further… chat_bubble_outline Read More...